Power Hitters Lead Saturday’s Top Rank Show at StubHub

TOP RANK BOXING AT THE “HUB” — Power hitters arrive just in time to greet the heat at the venue known for making legendary fights.

Spring heat will greet three world champions of Mexican descent and an Olympian plus a few others.

WBO featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez (21-0, 19 KOs) headlines the card with another title defense this time against Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga (25-1, 21 KOs) at the home of gladiators called the StubHub Center. It will be televised on pay-per-view. Check your local listings.

Valdez, 26, a former Mexican Olympian, had plenty of international experience and in the past two years has ascended into another level of prizefighting. Since the last time he fought at the StubHub, the Nogales native has run up a streak of five consecutive knockout wins.

All were convincing knockouts against equally powerful fighters.

The last time Valdez entered the arena at the StubHub was not a good night. He was knocked down early in the fight against Ruben Tamayo. That knockdown proved to ignite something inside.

“I think I’ve got something personal to prove at the StubHub,” said Valdez. “I wasn’t happy with my last performance at StubHub.”

Marriaga is a serious power hitter too and with 21 of his wins coming by knockout this could be one incredible showdown.

Lately, Valdez has the look of a fighter ready to crack the pound for pound list. He’s that good.

WBO super bantamweight titlist Jessie Magdaleno (24-0, 17 KOs) is only 25 but seems like he’s been around for a decade. The southpaw slugger from Las Vegas recently defeated Nonito Donaire for the title. That’s no easy feat. Donaire may be older but still has danger written all over him.

Magdaleno decided to skip over a rematch with Donaire to take on Brazil’s Adeilson Dos Santos (18-2, 14 KOs). That infuriated the former champ and rumors surfaced that Donaire was helping Dos Santos prepare for the title challenge.

Magdaleno just shrugs at the information about Donaire, but gets excited about fighting at a venue known for legendary wars.

“There’s been so many great fights at the StubHub,” said Magdaleno who fought there once before and won by knockout in 2013 when it was called the Home Depot Center. “I always want to put on a great show. I always want to show fans there is more to me than just becoming a champion.”

Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs) finally makes his first defense of the WBO super middleweight title he won at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas over a year ago. He faces Ukraine’s Max Bursak (33-4-1, 15 KOs) and has a height advantage.

Injuries have been the stumbling block for the left-handed slugger from Mazatlan, Mexico. The big question: can he engage in a 12-round firefight against a rugged challenger from Ukraine and survive?

Olympian Debuts

Shakur Stevenson finally makes his pro debut and it comes nearly a year after he lit up the boxing ring in the Rio Olympic Games last summer.

The speedy southpaw from Newark made a circuitous journey to the pro world and is advised by light heavyweight world champion Andre Ward and James Prince. His advisors took the Olympic silver medal winner to Top Rank because of the Las Vegas company’s success building up former Olympians.

Stevenson, 19, meets Edgar Brito (3-2-1, 2 KOs) in a six round featherweight bout. Not the usual four-rounders that most boxers partake in their pro debuts. Instead, he will take the route that other Olympians endured like Oscar De La Hoya who also began with a six-round bout during his Top Rank days.

Fighting without head gear and with smaller boxing gloves is always a shock to former amateur stars. Welcome to the fire.

A special guest of Stevenson will be two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields who is now the NABF middleweight titlist. Shields will be in the audience to support her fellow Olympian. She is expected to fight in June and August. Hopefully in a world title fight.

Other Bouts

Francisco Santana (24-5-1, 12 KOs) reboots for another campaign as a world title contender. The Santa Maria welterweight meets hard-hitting Mexican welterweight Mahonry Montes (32-6-1, 22 KOs) of Los Mochis. There will be blood.

Santana is managed by Frank Espinoza who also manages Valdez and Magdaleno. The 30-year-old Santana has one of the better chins in the sport and will be tested again by the power-hitting Montes. This fight could be the fight of the night.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

COMMENTS

-oubobcat :

I generally watch everything fight I possibly can but probably will miss most if not all this card. Though I will no doubt at least try to hunt down some video at some point of the Oscar Valdez fight as well as the Stevenson fight. Showtime is running a show concurrent and the fights there are much more competitive than the fights on this PPV. Magdeleno and Ramirez have it incredibly easy. There opponents are hand picked to give them little issue. For Ramirez, it is about getting back in the ring and getting some rounds. This will probably look like a glorified sparring session. For Magdeleno, it is about a showcase fight where he makes an emphatic statement. He should do so easy against Dos Santos. The best bet this weekend may be Magdeleno and the under 6.5 rounds. Marriaga has a nice record but that was built up on weak competition. Many remember the Walters loss where Marriaga really did not put up much competition but don't forget too his next time out against an overmatched opponent (Guillermo Avila) he looked bad despite winning every round. Valdez is a star in the making and though Marriaga is better than the other opponents on this show still do not see him providing much challenge to Valdez.


-oubobcat :

I generally watch everything fight I possibly can but probably will miss most if not all this card. Though I will no doubt at least try to hunt down some video at some point of the Oscar Valdez fight as well as the Stevenson fight. Showtime is running a show concurrent and the fights there are much more competitive than the fights on this PPV. Magdeleno and Ramirez have it incredibly easy. There opponents are hand picked to give them little issue. For Ramirez, it is about getting back in the ring and getting some rounds. This will probably look like a glorified sparring session. For Magdeleno, it is about a showcase fight where he makes an emphatic statement. He should do so easy against Dos Santos. The best bet this weekend may be Magdeleno and the under 6.5 rounds. Marriaga has a nice record but that was built up on weak competition. Many remember the Walters loss where Marriaga really did not put up much competition but don't forget too his next time out against an overmatched opponent (Guillermo Avila) he looked bad despite winning every round. Valdez is a star in the making and though Marriaga is better than the other opponents on this show still do not see him providing much challenge to Valdez.


-brownsugar :

Caught the entire Valdez vs Marriaga bout on Youtube (as expected). A Pretty good and entertaning slugfest. Wouldn't pay to watch it however, even on bonus check week. But it was a real good scrap. I don't know why. I'm pretty sure the general consensus was that Porter would win. ...big. But I had hoped the very "personable" and easy-going Berto would land one of those "starch" laden uppercuts thrown from Tallahassee. Something that would at least temporarily derail Porter. Berto did land a few uppercuts however either they werent as effective as previous fights or maybe Porter went so deep into aggro mode that he was simply immune to the old lions power. Its funny.... Porter would tell everyone who would listen that Berto was his next fight. The kid was ecstatic to get a prominent gatekeeper of the status of an Andre Berto! And Berto's response was "I never heard anything about it, talk to my manager" Maybe Berto was the last to know. Or maybe he didn't want to know. But who can blame Hayman? As humble as the guy next door, Berto gives the distinct impression of coming off like a "regular guy"....no arrests, no out of the ring drama.......he has a pretty much PG rated conversation. And he is known as a philanthropist in his home nation Haiti. Berto can be found on virtually hundreds of videos sitting around in the locker room but never sweating as he espounds on his favorite topic: "it is what it is" you can hear Berto say at the end of every sentence. Berto's "regular guy" demeanor strongly contradicts the fact that he's probably one the 20th highest income earning boxers during the last decade. So its no surprise.....once again Berto must answer the call. But dispite going to the equivalent of a hospice for dying boxing careers for former decorated warriors but currently incorrigible losers (except for a few exceptions). Berto went to the place known as Virgil Hunter's gym to get a new lease on this boxing career. To refurbish the spirit....eliminate the flaws and build anew But habits die hard. .....Berto still.... 13 years later throws a backhand jab....from short arms that never seem to extent all the way. Still, Berto's main tendancy makes it seem as though he has superglue oozing from the pores on this back which hold him against the ropes like he's reclining in lazy boy, with no center of gravity available to use to pivot out of harms way. Its all still there against the top echelon competition. But turning away from his opponent to seek a temporary reprieve from the referree is not something you want to see. Berto doesn't usuall complain that much. Anyway, everyone knows these things. It was still a good dirty scrappy fight. A fight I could imagine would be right at home in the parking lot behind the local Tavern. Porter was violent, ruthless, and relentless. ... Never once letting the cuts over each eye impeed his progress and neither did he once even give any indication that he was in any type of discomfort or distress. Berto on the otherhand sincerely tried to make a fight of it but as the rounds wore on, more than blood he was bleeding determination.... and the desire to win. Even telling the ref that he couldn't see out of one eye. I thought they would stop the fight right at that moment. Somewhere deep underground in his goldlined laire Al Haymon must have hit a button on a remote that transmitted the order ... "don't stop it yet". A minute before the fight was stopped, Berto was grimmacing again....while simultaneously pawing at his damaged eye. The ref asked if Berto is was ready to box? Berto said "he hit me in my".... Before Berto could answer the ref cut him off and waved the fighters back together. "box!" Instead of getting a sympathetic ref responding to his plea.... All Berto got was a charging snarling maniac, frothing at the mouth and pinning him back into the same corner while unleashing another merciless volly. This time the ref had seen enough. A cruel ruthless display by Porter. Porter got his gatekeeper as promised. He looked Like a pittbull chowing down on bealjack. Boxing is so cruel sometimes....I love this sport.